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LA Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves - Play-In Tournament

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Patrick Beverley Delivers On His Playoff Promise

The Wolves’ vocal leader has been right about almost everything this season

Patrick Beverley has preached his playoff beliefs since the day he arrived in Minneapolis.
| Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

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At his introductory press conference back in September, Patrick Beverley said he didn’t expect his playoff streak to end even as he was joining a franchise with only one playoff appearance since 2004, and more significantly, a team coming off a disastrous 23-win season.

“I’m just trying to win,” Beverley said back then. “I’ve made the playoffs every year since I’ve been in the NBA, and I don’t expect that to change. ... I just want to win. That’s it. I’m so simple but that’s the only thing I like to do is win. I like to win when playing cards. I like to win in video games. I like to win shooting drills. I like to win.”

That’s been a popular sentiment over the course of his first season in Minnesota, spoken often by him and echoed throughout the organization. Winning triumphs all else.

As JJ Redick jokingly pointed out on his podcast The Old Man and the Three a month ago when Beverley made a guest appearance, the history books may say otherwise when it comes to his “perfect” playoff streak. There was, after all, one season he didn’t go to the postseason.

But Beverley had a great point in response to Redick’s correction. “I got hurt. I got the microfracture [surgery],” Beverley declared. “My argument is the reason [the 2017-18 Clippers] didn’t make it was because I was hurt. The year I was hurt is obviously the year I didn’t make it.”

As Beverley was overcome with emotion and tears in his eyes as he hugged his mom after a hard-fought 109-104 victory in the NBA play-in tournament against his old Clippers squad on Tuesday night—inside of a buzzing Target Center to secure the Western Conference’s No. 7 seed and the last laugh against the organization that ditched his services—there was a thought that hit me once again.

Patrick Beverley not only delivered on his playoff promise but he’s been right on just about everything this season.

“Man, I wanted this so bad. I wanted this one so bad,” Beverley said after the Wolves win. “I told you we were going to the playoffs. Most of y’all looked at me like I was crazy when I first said that. I f—ing told y’all.”

His crazy ambition is what the Wolves have lacked for so many years. He’s the villain they’ve been missing and the extremely wise veteran that can push all of the right buttons to get the most out of his teammates, and drive opponents insane, too.

“Playoffs are when stars are made,” Beverley told second-year rising superstar, Anthony Edwards, before the night. And Ant ended up shining in the biggest game of the season with 30 points, carrying the offensive load alongside D’Angelo Russell, 29 points, when Towns was marred by foul trouble; KAT was effectively taken out of the game with aggressive double teams and physical defensive coverage.

“This young man, I told [Ant] before the game like Francisco Garcia told me 10 years ago in my first playoff game, ‘you gonna be very special in this league’ and I told him the same thing. He came out here man and I’m so proud of Ant. He responded well. KAT fouled out, 20-year-old took over the game.”

“It was just will tonight,” Beverley added. “We just wanted it more. We went out there, we competed, we didn’t care who shot the ball, we didn’t care what the stats were, and the better team won today.”

Both Beverley and Edwards thought about jumping on the scorers' table, as Wolves legend Kevin Garnett famously once did, before Game 83 began. Both leaped up there in the end, mimicking Beverley’s favorite player and idol growing up.

“I’ve been going to sleep saying ‘I’m gonna hit the game-winning shot and I’m gonna go jump on the table,’” Ant said with a chuckle. “I promise you that was my thing when I woke up [this morning],” Beverley added with a giant grin.

He was right about Edwards being an unguardable force of nature ready to take center stage. “No one can guard him,” Bev said sitting next to Edwards on the postgame podium.

“I’ve been telling him that all year. I don’t care who plays on him. I done seen the best defensive guys—I’m one of the best defensive guys on earth—no one can guard him and I keep preaching that to him, and he’s been doing it all season so credit to him, credit to his hard work, credit to his patience. Obviously, we have Karl-Anthony Towns who we feature a lot so credit to his patience at a young age, understanding the game, being patient, and understanding when to attack. KAT fouled out and [Ant] and D’Lo took over the game.”

When Beverley was first introduced, he was asked about the cornerstones of building a winning culture. His response: “accountability and honesty.” Those two attributes have come to define this version of the Wolves under his seasoned guidance.

“I think those are the first two,” he said. “If we can talk to each other in a way where we both understand and get the most out of each other without talking back or backlash. And accountability—if you’re supposed to be the low man [defensively], be the low man. That’s your job. If he’s a low man, the person who’s supposed to have his back, has his back. I think that goes from top to bottom.”

In response to all of the spectators and critics across the NBA ridiculing the enthusiasm of the Wolves in their celebration of the play-in win—including the NBA on TNT broadcast mockingly playing “We Are The Champions,” as if a franchise that’s been through hell and back should treat this comeback victory with some sort of quiet gracefulness when their superstar center was completely taken out of the game—Beverley’s late-night tweet was resoundingly accurate.

Pat Bev is right again.

The fans deserved this type of win. Everyone involved deserved this. It’s been endless pain in this Minnesota basketball market, and the players who were responsible for the turnaround earned the right to treat this win as a significant moment. Because it is. Every single diehard Wolves fan knows how rare these special nights are.

When asked what he was yelling at owner Steve Ballmer and towards many of his old teammates on the Clippers bench, Beverley was clear and blunt as he always is.

“Take they ass home; long flight to LA,” he said while enjoying a victorious Bud Light.

“It’s deeper than that to me. I gave my blood, sweat, and tears to that organization. Just to be written off like that, ‘oh he’s injury-prone, he’s old.’ To be able to come here, play them in a play-in, beat their ass. No other feeling, man. No other feeling.”

PAT WAS RIGHT about how critical a piece like Chris Finch was to the entire puzzle, too. Beverley has been praising his head coach since arriving in town. “Finchy’s a really big part of our success. He’s one of the reasons why I came here,” he said previously. His caption of Finch on an Instagram story post earlier this season was: “He Will Go Down As 1 of the BEST,” and he’s made it a point to remind everyone how fortunate the Wolves are to have both stability and expertise in the coaching department.

Beverley shouted “Coach of the f——— year!” twice during Finch’s press conference after locking in the seventh seed. He was telling everyone Finch was the real deal back in December, too. “When it comes to the detail and professionalism, he’s up there with the top of them. And I’ve been coached by Kevin McHale, D’Antoni, Doc Rivers, and T-Lue. I’ve had great coaches. He’s right up there. Very detailed. Very, very detailed man.”

“Y’all chose wisely,” Beverley once said about the trade that netted him from Memphis for the spare parts of failed lottery pick Jarrett Culver and underwhelming stretch forward Juancho Hernangomez. Indeed, the Wolves did. They acquired their x-factor, truth-telling, first-team All-NBA defensive guard who has instilled swag in a “swagless team over the years” for spare parts.

On multiple occasions, Beverely has also said the Wolves want to show the league this is a team that’s going to be talked about over the next couple of years. A team that will make noise in the West, far different from years past. Is it important to send the message that this is a new era in Minnesota basketball?

“It’s funny cuz when Memphis does it everyone praises [them], but when we do it we’re categorized as a team with very little character,” he responded a few weeks back. “It’s okay, we’re going to continue to prove all the doubters wrong and continue to build something special here with Finchy, Ant, KAT, D’Lo ... myself. That’s our mindset.”

Beverley and other veterans like Taurean Prince knew that off-court camaraderie would help strengthen the team's bond and that togetherness would benefit them in the biggest of battles. He stepped up when everyone needed to understand their roles to maximize the group, and he’s cherished an expanded playmaking role that he hadn’t previously been entrusted with.

The list is long and goes on and on when it comes to what Beverley has said this season and how true all of those things have turned out to be.

It’s anyone’s guess what Patrick Beverley might say next, but it might be helpful to remember that he’s been right about almost everything thus far.